What a moving formulary for Holy Mass in the older form today.
I am not usually the emotional type when saying Mass. I really wish that "priestcraft" wasn’t a negative word, because I think priests should firstly attend to their business during Mass, the craft of being a priest at the altar, especially in a parish setting.
But today, in the special format of today’s Mass, something grabbed and shook me.
There is, oddly enough, an extra reading and prayers in today’s formulary for Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Why is today’s Mass different? In history today was the day when catechumens had a special stage in their march toward baptism.. at St. Paul’s outside-the-walls. The catechumens would be allowed in to the church today. They heard the readings, all about baptism. The priest put salt in their mouths, a symbol of wisdom. And then they left, with this anticipation of their own baptism.
The Gospel is about the Lord curing the man born blind.
At the end of the Gospel we hear:
They [the pharisees] answered and said to him [the blind man, who told them what happened], Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Dost thou believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? And Jesus said to him, “Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.” And he said, I believe, Lord: (Here all kneel down) and falling down he adored Him.
The Lord went and found him once He heard how he had been treated.
The man adored him.
"I will take the stony heart out of your flesh."
"I went, I washed, and now I see."
During Holy Mass you encounter mystery in this moment of the Gospel kneeling, sudden, out of place in Mass. Unexpected.
I am not usually sentimental in my celebration of Mass, but today this choked me completely.